Top products from r/skeptic

We found 58 product mentions on r/skeptic. We ranked the 477 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top comments that mention products on r/skeptic:

u/Squirrel_In_A_Tuque · 1 pointr/skeptic

Please don't cheapen that word "consensus" with frivolous usage. The origins of religion is a highly contentious topic, and those who study it are absolutely not in full agreement with each other. You are trying to prop up your arguments with the authority of science while denigrating my intelligence. You don't convince people by arguing that way; you only satisfy your urge to crush an opponent.

Here's where we agree, and where you think we disagree:

  1. Religion is a natural phenomenon.
  2. Religion has been a part of human behaviour for tens of thousands of years.

    There. Half your post wasn't necessary, Mr./Ms. Read-More-Carefully.

    Where we disagree:
    You think religion... "exists because people believe the immaterial intentional entities (minds without bodies, gods.)" In a related concept, you indicate that we naturally ascribe agency to the natural world.

    Just so this is abundantly clear: I was arguing that gods are not required for religion. You misread Buddhism is but one example. "Most" Buddhists isn't "all" Buddhists, and "involves" is a far cry from "being the central element of the religion that defines its existence." Many totemic religions from tribal societies also lack gods. You end up having to redefine "gods" to "any supernatural agent" just to get this idea to work.

    But let's focus on the idea that it's natural for us to impose agency to things in the natural world, and this leading to the formation of religion. This also is not done in every religion. When it is done, it isn't relevant to every aspect of the religion in question. Even among Christianity, a great deal of worship is devoted to the saints, who were entirely human. Ditto with ancestor worship in Taoism.

    We have also seen the rise of new religions, and we know for a fact this idea of ascribing agency to the natural world was not involved in the creation of many of them: Scientology, or the various cults that are centred around extra terrestrials, or people from the future, or not eating (seriously!)

    Finally, it doesn't explain why we have the ability to feel transcendence; that feeling we get when our individuality melts away and we "give ourselves" to something greater. Where does that come from? How does that evolve?

    But for the sake of completeness, you would likely need to hear an alternative, so here is where I'm coming from. I ascribe to Emile Durkheim's theory of religion. He's a classic sociologist, and formally founded the field of sociology itself.

    Just to provide the brief gist:

    His definition of religion: "A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden—beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them."

    The faithful believe in a force that is outside of themselves, and greater than themselves that enters into them usually during moments of collective ritual, giving them the feeling of transcendence. All religions have this force. It is often called a "god," though other terms are used (mana, ch'i, etc.) This force is the "energy," if you will, of the society of the faithful. In other words, god and society... are one and the same. Society is exterior to the individual, and greater than him. If you denigrate this symbol of their society, you are denigrating the society itself, and they will react accordingly. The morals preached by the religion are the morals that the society unifies under. They hold rituals to reinforce this collective bond, and that is really its purpose. Some things are made sacred (objects, values, people), and the community collects around those things, which become a sort of emblem. Rationality will serve the purpose of the community's religion. And, as I initially stated in my first post, the religion of the day will change as the needs of the society changes. Sometimes the religion itself alters, and other times it is simply abandoned for another one.

    We see religious behaviour in cruder moments all the time. The feeling of transcendence occurs among soldiers that fight and die together. They often describe their individuality melting away and becoming "whole" with their brothers in arms. They create a small system of morals and beliefs that are specific just to them. And they even sometimes have rituals.

    The same religious behaviour can be seen in revolutionaries who rationalize their oppressors as the ultimate evil. Or in nationalistic patriotism (why does a flag make someone cry? Why does it matter what the founding fathers thought?). Or college fraternities with their initiations and pledges. Or the obsession with all things natural and organic, and neo druidism, and Gwenyth Paltrow getting people to stick odd things up their vaginas. Or Trump supports who see Donald Trump as their saviour from the evils that plague them.

    We have evolved the innate ability to unite under an emblem and operate as a cohesive whole. That is religion, and no other animal seems to have it. It's the evolutionary trick that made us the dominant species on earth. It's utter shit for finding the truth of things, but it massively serves the purpose of our survival.

    Now, if you want religion to just go away so we can have a purely secular society based on reason, then what you want to believe is that religion is just some kind of fluke originally made to explain the world (and it clearly does a poor job of that). I admire that cause, but I doubt it's viability, and I certainly doubt the premise that's justifying it. Or perhaps I'm just making assumptions about your point of view. A purely rational society is one that I think a lot of skeptics dream of, and you are in this subreddit.

    Further reading, if you're interested: Emile Durkheim's "The Elementary Forms of Religious LIfe." Also, Jonathan Haidt's "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion."
u/norseclone · 54 pointsr/skeptic

The most recent XKCD is actually a fantastic illustration of what is probably going on (assuming everything is on the up and up and these studies were well run). The general value for statistical significance (p less than or equal to .05) is completely and utterly arbitrary. (refer to capnrefsmmat post below). It's just a general convention that people in the medical and scientific communities are willing to accept that level of potential error. Therefore, if enough double-blind, placebo controlled trials of homeopathy are conducted, it is a certainty that some will show statistically significant results. That's why one study does not prove or disprove a treatment, a theory, whatever. Instead, you look at the evidence as a whole. And there is a MOUNTAIN of negative trials for homeopathic remedies. I apologize I don't have time to go looking for you, but you should be able to find some to throw back at the individual, plus I imagine some of our friends here in r/skeptic will have a few they can share as well. Good luck.

edit: If you can get hold of a copy, Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst's Trick or Treatment would be a great place to start formulating a rebuttal.

u/philb0t5000 · 2 pointsr/skeptic

I suggest the book - Bad Science. The first or second chapter has a section on detox. Not finished with it yet so I can't tell you if there's much more in there relevant to your specific query. So if you just want that answered it'll be a waste of money, but I would recommend it anyways. So far it's been pretty awesome.

Edit: Different link

u/ConstantlySlippery · 2 pointsr/skeptic


He mentions Jonathan Haight in the talk. I highly recommend his book The Righteous Mind. It goes into great detail about how and why people believe and defend their beliefs as they do. It is a fantastic book.

u/the_infidel · 6 pointsr/skeptic

The section on magnets starts at 3:55, but there's a great explanation of the difficulty of "why" questions at the beginning.

P.S. I'd like to take this opportunity to recommend Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, if anyone hasn't read it yet. There's also a larger hardcover compilation containing that work and a few others called Classic Feynman (this is the edition I have). He was an amazing person, and there are all sorts of spectacular stories about his time on the Manhattan Project, about investigating the Challenger disaster, and about selecting textbooks out for the California school curriculum (this section may make you rage).

u/heterosis · 1 pointr/skeptic

Mistakes were made only covers a few fallacies, but with great depth. It's an excellent read.

u/whyamiupthislate · 2 pointsr/skeptic

I found this book helpful

It isn't terribly in-depth, but it helped my understand the mindset of thinking logically and seeing where fallacies lay, plus the author has a very good sense of humor which makes the book nice to read.

u/SuccessiveApprox · 3 pointsr/skeptic

Sounds like you have a "mixer" experience rather than a "straight chiropractor" experience. Grab a phone book and call ten random chiro offices. Ask if they can help with high blood pressure, arthritis, ear infections and general fatigue. I'd love to hear a summary of the answers.

Subluxation is part-and-parcel to chiropractic training in most instances. It's medical nonsense.

Also, chiro has only ever been shown to be successful at treating low back pain, though maybe even not that based on a recent Cochrane review, and then with no greater efficacy than other treatments and at higher cost.

A great, in-depth review of chiropractic medicine (and other alt med) is Trick or Treatment by Ernst and Singh

Edit: fixed link error
Edit 2: revision for clarity

u/WankerRotaryEngine · 8 pointsr/skeptic

Good old Richard Dawkins does what he does best.

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True

It says 12 years and upwards, but I don't think we should write off the younger readers so quick. They soak up information like sponges. The hardback is illustrated according to a customer review, which might make it more accessible for the younger readers.

>The hardback is profusely--almost to excess--illustrated with colorful pictures and diagrams all over every single page, often under the text. The paperback has NO pictures. None at all. It's on cheap paper too, the kind that will discolor in a few years. The hardback is, I suggest, much more appealing to younger readers. The paperback, perforce, focuses entirely on the text.

Religion has discovered that it's better to get them young to indoctrinate and brainwash them, which is why they're so hell-bent(!) on getting into schools for children. But that can go both ways. The younger the better, to lay good skeptical foundations for later life.

>It is a graphic science book aimed primarily at children and young adults. Dawkins has stated that the book is intended for those aged around 12 years and upwards, and that when trialling the book prior to publishing, younger readers were able to understand its content with additional adult assistance.

u/bloub · 5 pointsr/skeptic

Crimes against Logic, by Jamie Whyte. It's really clever and witty.

Edit : you can find a lot of his Times articles here. Be sure to check The five great fallacies and how to spot them.

u/Sitnalta · 2 pointsr/skeptic

This book seems like it would address a lot of the shit you're pontificating about. It's quite new and I must admit I haven't read it but I put it on my list after reading positive reviews.

u/Trent_Boyett · 20 pointsr/skeptic

You should both read Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

He gives a brilliant description of random double blind trials, and lays out exactly why they are the gold standard for demonstrating a treatment's efficacy.

It's a wonderfully clear and sober explanation of how the scientific method should be applied to medicine.

u/venusisupsidedown · 1 pointr/skeptic

So this may not help you directly to argue better, but check out this book for a good read and some great info on why it's difficult to change people's minds.

u/celticeric · 5 pointsr/skeptic

There's a book about self-help books that really helped me: SHAM: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless. It's a skeptical investigation of the Self-Help and Actualization Movement (or SHAM) that will help you identify which books not to waste your money on.

That said, if you are looking for a cognitive behavioral therapy book, Feeling Good seems to be legitimate. I haven't read the latest edition, but early editions were free of woo and it describes practices that represent the current thinking on cognitive-behavioral therapy among medical professionals. I tend to look down on self-help books with scorn, but this one appealed to my sense of logic and reasoning.

u/Parrot0123 · 1 pointr/skeptic

I really enjoyed them. If you'd like a taste, you can read the excerpt pages available on

Just click where it says "click to look inside", you'll have to scroll past the first few blank/copyright pages, but then you'll get to read the first few text pages of the book and you can decide.

Let me know if that helps you.

u/tsdguy · 2 pointsr/skeptic

I would highly recommend his recent book Bad Science.

His chapter on the Placebo Effect is interesting and has a slant that I had not considered. Essentially there is no Placebo Effect specifically. That is, the Placebo Effect is not that a placebo can cause the same physical effects as a specific medication. It is that a particular, let say ailment, can improve without a person being subjected to the medication which is specifically designed to improve or cure the condition.

Illness has a cycle in people, improving or declining naturally and how you analyze the use of placebo is very important.

This directly opposes the hot topic now that you can give people fake pills and they'll get better BECAUSE OF THE FAKE PILLS when that is not what the placebo effect indicates.

Read the book - it's something that everyone who eats or takes a pill should read cover to cover.

u/Havitech · 28 pointsr/skeptic

This is probably a long shot, but if you can convince them to thoughtfully read an entire book, buy them a copy of The Demon-Haunted World.

u/morsecoderain · 35 pointsr/skeptic

I really like Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food by Pam Ronald and Raoul Adamchak. It's written by a husband and wife team—the husband is an organic farmer, and the wife is a rice geneticist. I found it to be a good primer on genetic engineering and the basics of organic farming. They take the position that genetic engineering and organic farming are both tools that should be employed in the future of agriculture.

u/NomadicVagabond · 18 pointsr/skeptic

The two best books for getting a basic understanding of the writing and transmission process of the Bible are:

Richard Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible? for the Hebrew Scriptures

Burton Mack's Who Wrote the New Testament? for the Christian Scriptures

u/[deleted] · 8 pointsr/skeptic

I feel like this is the internet subscription version of any decent self help book.

u/holyschmidt · 3 pointsr/skeptic

Snake Oil Science by Bausell is excellent as it relates to alternative medicine. Amazon Link

u/canteloupy · 2 pointsr/skeptic

It's been investigated in depth for the OT. It's a very interesting tale.

u/med_image · 3 pointsr/skeptic

Messrs Ernst and Singh are a good bet:

Trick or Treatment

u/Daemonax · 1 pointr/skeptic

Perhaps the book "Paranormality" would be a good book for you to read.

u/Tiver · 6 pointsr/skeptic

I can't remember if these were both in his book, but you should absolutely read: Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!

u/MissJacki · 7 pointsr/skeptic

The absolute best source to outfit you for this (and them if they will read it) is Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure by Dr. Paul A. Offit. I would say definitely one of the quintessential rebuttals to the anti-vax crowd.

u/Skreeonk · 3 pointsr/skeptic

If you like the article, read the whole book.

u/DoctorBurger · 5 pointsr/skeptic

It also sounds like they would benefit from Sagan's book, The Demon Haunted World

u/CollinT1208 · 4 pointsr/skeptic

All good recommendations, but if you want a textbook for skeptics (and it is a textbook), then pick up "How to Think About Weird Things" by Theodore Schick. It is the most comprehensive guide to skepticism I've read: he tackles everything from cryptozoology to free energy machines; from homeopathy to conspiracy theories. The author doesn't just identify bunk: he explains WHY it's bunk. More importantly, he explains how we arrive at these strange beliefs, and the philosophical justification of skepticism. Seriously, it's the most dog eared of my skeptic text that I have.

And I love Shermer's books -- especially "Why People Believe Weird Things." His two-chapter destruction of the Holocaust deniers is a thing of beauty.

u/lepton0 · 16 pointsr/skeptic

How about Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World. It's a good primer on skepticism. He debunks various pseudoscience, offers a skeptic's toolkit to help differentiate what is probably true from what is probably false, has his famous "dragon in my garage" analogy.

u/cowgod42 · 5 pointsr/skeptic

I have been bothered by this kind of thing for years. I finally started to understand the mentality of these people when I read the amazing book, "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark" by Carl Sagan. It looks at the history of this kind of irrational thinking, and shows in very interesting ways how reports of witches, demons, extraterrestrials, and so on are reflections of a similar way of thinking that apparently has occurred in various forms as far back as we have historical records. If you're bothered by these crazies like I am, you might want to check out this book.

u/SomeRandomMax · 7 pointsr/skeptic

This is sort of like linking to the Flat Earth Society as credible proof that the earth is flat. The fact that those people believe SRA is a real thing does not actually mean it is.

The evidence against SRA as a real, widespread phenomena is overwhelmingly against.

From Wikipedia:
> Initial publicity came via the book Michelle Remembers (1980), and was sustained and popularized throughout the decade by the McMartin preschool trial. Testimonials, symptom lists, rumors and techniques to investigate or uncover memories of SRA were disseminated through professional, popular and religious conferences, as well as through the attention of talk shows, sustaining and further spreading the moral panic throughout the United States and beyond. In some cases, allegations resulted in criminal trials with varying results; after seven years in court, the McMartin trial resulted in no convictions for any of the accused, while other cases resulted in lengthy sentences, some of which were later reversed. Scholarly interest in the topic slowly built, eventually resulting in the conclusion that the phenomenon was a moral panic, with little or no validity.

> Official investigations produced no evidence of widespread conspiracies or of the slaughter of thousands; only a small number of verified crimes have even remote similarities to tales of SRA. In the latter half of the 1990s, interest in SRA declined and skepticism became the default position, with very few researchers giving any credence to the existence of SRA.

Carl Sagan's outstanding book The Demon Haunted World also spends some time focusing on SRA and related theories, and shows how people can genuinely believe the memories are real, all while actually having no basis at all in reality. If you consider yourself a skeptic, I cannot recommend this book enough. If you don't consider yourself a skeptic I recommend it even more.

u/prepress_monkey · 2 pointsr/skeptic

Another favorite source is The Demon Haunted World By Carl Sagan.

u/christballs · 7 pointsr/skeptic

Read Autism's False Prophets. This books cites numerous accounts of areas which stopped vaccinating and still had rises in cases of ASD (as well as spikes in preventable disease), of meta-studies about ASD and the lack of correlation between the diagnosis and being vaccinated, and it covers in depth Andrew Wakefield's study that purported a correlation (in just a handful of children); it also discusses the methodological and ethical errors of said study.

Also, this study which suggests that ASD occurs during pregnancy, not after.

u/ieya404 · 2 pointsr/skeptic

> Problem, is you can't get uranium

You can get the ore easily enough!

u/Notasurgeon · 1 pointr/skeptic

There's an excellent book about how this works, The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. Reading it has made me a lot more empathetic towards people who disagree on controversial topics, and also has helped me guide discussions on these topics in healthy directions. One major takeaway is that people look for facts and craft arguments to support their intuitions and beliefs, they don't craft beliefs based on facts and arguments. Also we craft logical arguments mostly to defend our beliefs and convince others, not to arrive at correct beliefs in the first place. So challenging beliefs directly with counter arguments is usually actually counterproductive, since it is easilly taken as a personal attack and just puts them into defense mode

u/Spacebobby · -1 pointsr/skeptic

It's funny to me that you think calling something a cabal and desperately mocking your opponets argument trying to make the worst form of it so that you can feel emotionally gratified in your bias is more important to you than making the best form of the argument to see if you're right. That postmodernism is becoming increasingly popular at universities and that by its own claims is anti modernism. I mean would it not be easy enough to justify that with the sokal affair?

Or if you are really desperate you could ignore evidence that compelling about postmodernists and still be left with how campus policy has been changed after much lobbying by feminist groups.

What about polling done by Bucknell Institute for Public Policy that shows democrats are the lowest for believing in the right to cross examine their accusiors? Now I too might ask is that the result of feminist teaching in academia maybe not but is it not strange that so many public womens and genders studies professors support such changes or are against such basic rights?

Is that argument actually so ridiclious? Or are you trying to save your bias by only being willing to pretend its as if its some secret cabal?

u/metastasis_d · 1 pointr/skeptic

> Problem, is you can't get uranium (unless you're Doc Brown)


u/darthrevan · 9 pointsr/skeptic

>This is the silly idea that skepticism is about being open minded. It is not. Being open minded in scientific matters is not a good thing.

Carl Sagan disagrees:

"If you're only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You never learn anything. You become a crotchety misanthrope convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.) Since major discoveries at the borderlines of science are rare, experience will tend to confirm your grumpiness. But every now and then a new idea turns out to be on the mark, valid and wonderful. If you're too resolutely and uncompromisingly skeptical, you're going to miss (or resent) the transforming discoveries in science, and either way you will be obstructing understanding and progress. Mere skepticism is not enough." Source

u/acrane55 · 18 pointsr/skeptic

And the evidence for acupuncture is extremely weak (so just because an insurance company covers it, doesn't mean it's effective). A very readable book on alternative medicine is "Trick or Treatment":

u/tikael · 5 pointsr/skeptic

Millions of people are wrong every day. Vaccines have been studied repeatedly and no link to autism has been found. NONE. The study that kicked off the anti-vax movement was shown to be fraudulent.

I suggest reading Autism's False Prophets. It is an evidence based look at autism and the anti-vaccine movement.

u/neutronfish · -2 pointsr/skeptic

> Got any examples there, bud?

There's an entire book on the subject called Fashionable Nonsense filled with examples of humanities scholars bastardizing science to create an anti-colonial narrative. In the cited works by popular academics you'll learn that math and physics aren't simply ways of describing the world around us and making predictions, but secret vehicles for racism, sexism, and colonial oppression. If decrying the disciplines that enabled human spaceflight and doubled the average lifespan is not anti-intellectual, I don't know what is.

> You realize the scientific method has limits right? Like by definition. Science is a process of constant revision.

So what's your point? Observing facts, coming up with a hypothesis, falsifying it, and producing a theory to explain the relationships between the facts you're documented and tested, then correcting it when new facts are discovered is a pretty damn good way of learning about the world and the way all humans have done it since we gained sapience.

When humanities scholars say that "indigenous cultures had the scientific method forced upon them by colonists," they're not decrying colonialism as much as they're insulting indigenous cultures by refusing to acknowledge that they too understood how science works and conducted some form of scientific studies.

u/kylev · 3 pointsr/skeptic

This sort of false memory ("recovered") has been on my mind a bit lately. I'm finally getting around to reading Demon Haunted World and it brought back a bunch of stuff from my school days. There were chapel speakers (Christian school) that talked about Satanic cults sacrificing babies. I probably went through a big chunk of my life thinking that there really was a massive outbreak of Satanic rape happening.